A Running Debate: Nakedness

Nakedness has been a topic of discussion between myself and several friends over the past few weeks. It turns out I have quite different views to (what seems like) most people. So I thought I’d open it up to be a bit of a debate. Me vs Steph. Let us know who’s corner of the changing room you’re in…

Lissy says…

I have a question. It’s been bugging me for a while. And then I started cycling to work and using the changing and showering facilities almost everyday in the basement of my building and now I really just don’t get it.

Why is being naked so awful?

Our changing room, like many others, is full of grown women of all shapes, sizes and ages, dashing from cubicle to cubicle, doing the ‘trying to put underwear on without dropping the towel’ dance and just generally avoiding eye contact like their life depended on it.

We have three showers that are in self-contained cubicles and four showers that are open plan. Every morning, there is a queue for the three closed off showers, whilst the four others stay unused. The same thing happened recently on my first visit to Cyclebeat. Eight showers – six open, two cubicles. And a queue which I was able to breeze straight past as long as I didn’t mind a couple of people seeing me shampooing. Fine by me.

I’m not suggesting we all need to wander round flaunting it in each other’s faces, but it makes me sad that we’re regressing to feeling like we are 14 again and changing after a PE lesson. Especially as these are all people who have just run or cycled into the office, or have just finished a workout in the gym or studio next door.

I asked my male colleagues what happens on their side of the wall. The shower set up is the same, and all of them get used. Apparently everyone is a lot more ‘matter of fact’ about it and they just get on with what they need to do. Need to put their towel down to get dressed? Done. Need to be at their desk in 20 minutes so don’t have time to faff around trying to cover up? So don’t bother.

For now, and until I have an answer, I’m just going to carry on being the only weird one that walks past the queue and uses the shower without a door.

Steph says…

I’d just completed a tough 45 minute work out, I was sweaty, tired and hungry and ready for a lovely shower. I walked into the ladies room, put my bag on a hook and looked around for the changing/ showering cubicles.

Then I heard the showers and realised that the other ladies by the six hooks were already stripping. Heat rose in me, bile started in the back of my throat and my head filled with stressful thoughts.

My dreams of a lovely shower were replaced by flashbacks of school, knowledge I would have to rush my shower and realisation that the complimentary towels barely covered by foof and boobs at once filled me with fear.

Don’t get me wrong I’m okay with getting changed in front of my friends, I’m not a complete prude. I just like my privacy, especially with strangers/acquaintances. A shrink would take me back to school where I had enough ammunition for the bullies that the possibility of my body looking different (it wasn’t) was enough to put me off PE and communal changing for life.

So far this has all been about me, but if there had only been me in the room I would have coped with open showers. Having to squeeze past others to get into/out of the showers, having to look at the floor whilst getting ready and having to put my contact lenses in/makeup on next to the lady that dries her hair naked in public made the whole the thing much worse.

I’ve never used the showers at a gym either, I always go home/to work and use a private shower. An added bonus is that I don’t have to lug all my stuff around.

Trying to rush, get my undies on under the towel and finding anywhere to put my things amongst the naked bodies in the under provisioned changing rooms resulted in me heading to work as a stressed, sweaty mess with wonky hair and clothes. I might as well have not showered at all.

Maybe it’s just me and my issues but when I am paying £16+ for a class I don’t want to have to go through a stressful experience every time. Places like Boomcycle have it right where there are beautiful big towels individual cubicles where you shower and get ready before facing the world. Because of these facilities I can enjoy my class and the rest of my day with no stress, well except for when I forget my bra, but that’s another story.


Balance never lasts long, it seems.

Things I’ve done lots of over the past couple of weeks:

  • Work
  • Think about work
  • Be at work some more
  • Eat a lot of biscuits

Things I haven’t done so much of over the past couple of weeks:

  • Blog
  • Life admin
  • Cycle anywhere
  • Fix the puncture on the yellow beauty
  • Run
  • Hit the gym
  • Prepare good food and eat well
  • Get anywhere near 8 hours sleep a night

It’s now less than two weeks until training for Barcelona marathon begins. And by then I will make sure balance is restored…

Mild October days

I can’t believe how glorious the month of October has been this year. Other than the one day last week where I got soaked in a torrential downpour during my ill-timed cycle to work, the last few weeks have been brilliant autumnal weather.

With temperatures due to drop (and a LOT of rain on the way) as we head into November, I thought I’d pause and be glad of a few things that I really shouldn’t have been able to do at this time of year.

I’ve spent a lot of time eating outside recently. Myself and a couple of work colleagues have got into the habit of going for breakfast every Friday morning and last week we ventured to the café opposite our office and ate outside! It was warm enough at 9am to be outside and eating my full English. Wonderful. And at £3.95 – including a cuppa! – I was happy as larry.

I’ve also had breakfast in Hyde Park, at White Mulberries in St Katherine Docks and picnicked around and about near my office.

Clockwise from top right: banana bread & a piccolo at White Mulberries, me and my gorge borrowed Tokyobike in Hyde Park, enjoying the splendour of the Prudential building on Holborn, Friday morning full English

Last Friday, as well as an outdoor brekkie, I also managed another first – my first ever RUNch! It was such a nice day, I had some spare kit under my desk, so I decided to head out for a quick loop along the river, taking in Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges.

This photo does no justice to how warm it felt – I was in a vest and shorts on the run, and then at my desk with a very red face for most of the afternoon. Most impressive though was that I managed to change, run, shower, change again and be back at my desk in under 50 minutes.

Last weekend I got red faced again as I stood for 90 minutes at my first Norwich match of the season at Craven Cottage (home of Fulham). I am so used to going to football in the depths of winter, that I was so overdressed in my four layers and overheated throughout. I’ll miss that feeling when I’m shivering on a Tuesday night in February though.

And this week my Monday morning was made instantly better by the beautiful blue sky that greeted me as I stepped out of my front door. The clocks going back mean some lighter mornings, if only for a short while, and I really appreciated this one.

I wish autumn could go on forever!


Failing at Whole30

A couple of weeks ago, I started my second round of Whole30. I didn’t go quite as all out bells-and-whistles all over this blog and Instagram this time, but I still told quite a few people.

But only five days in, and thanks to a super stressful and unfortunately tear-filled couple of days at work, I cracked. I needed that glass of wine.

I know though, that the first time round, there was nothing that could have cracked my resolve. A crappy few days at work certainly wouldn’t have done. I mean, I made it through five days of sunbathing and eating in Mallorca – nothing was going to stop me.

So, this time, I’m not taking my ‘failure’ as a failure. It just wasn’t the right time for me. Thirty days is a long time to achieve something that needs so much willpower, planning and desire to succeed.

I still got the benefits of five days of clean eating. And it has taught me that sometimes that’s all I will need. A little boost of a Whole5, a Whole7 or a WholeWhatever-it-may-be will definitely be something I’ll be repeating again in the future when I just need a quick kick, a healthy week after some excess or restart healthier habits.

Introversion and the need for downtime

Throughout my school and work life, I have received a lot of feedback on my personality, ranging from ‘too shy‘, ‘too aloof‘, through to ‘not passionate enough‘ and ‘needs to network better‘. It was a relief to find out (although I accept these need to be worked on) that I wasn’t a weirdo, but just an introvert. Since then, I’ve found a lot of interest in reading on the topic (am currently part way through Susan Cain’s book Quiet), but one of the articles that I frequently direct people to as describing an introvert near-on perfectly is 23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert.

A couple of the points refer to the need for downtime or the requirement to ‘recharge your batteries’. Often my Sundays are spent like this, and today is another one of them.

At the moment, I constantly feel busy. Work is busy, and although I don’t work the craziest hours, I rarely have time to take a lunch break. By the time I leave work my mind is spreadsheet fatigued. I also run, see my friends a lot, like to try and feed myself relatively healthily and *whispers* am dipping my toes into the world of online dating. All of this sometimes makes me feel overwhelmed.

I get to the point – usually every two to three weeks – where I just need to sleep and chill the heck out. I need to lay in bed, then on the sofa, to catch up on TV I’ve missed and want to see, to do some washing and to do some life admin. I just need to be at home, in my cosy little bubble.

I don’t see downtime as a waste of time. I like it and when it’s needed, it is a necessity.

Today I woke up mid-morning after thirteen (!) hours sleep. I missed my Sunday group run and I was still in my PJs at 3pm. And all of it was glorious. Because it will mean that I tackle Monday and the rest of my week feeling recharged and in control again. Blissful.

As an aside, in looking up the article link above, I also found this infographic on the Huff Post website. Very good info for all you non-introverts 😉 …